Bhopal: Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh today said his party had failed to put up a strong candidate against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Budhni constituency for the November 25 polls.
Singh said here that his party initially wanted to bring in a big name against Chouhan but it was unable to do so as the planning did not go the right way.
Congress has fielded new faces in Dr Mahendra Singh Chouhan (from Budhni) and Shashank Bhargava (from Vidisha) against the CM, who is seeking a third term in the state.
While Bhargava is a senior party leader, Mahendra Singh is a close confidant of Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajay Singh.
Meanwhile, taking a dig at the Chief Minister for contesting from two seats, Digvijay said, "the BJP leadership may not have agreed to give a ticket to Chouhan`s wife Sadhna Singh because of which he had to do so."
"Also, may be Chouhan wants to keep a seat vacant for his wife after the elections," Digvijay added.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan is perhaps the only leader in MP who will contest on two seats.
The decision to field Chouhan from Vidisha along with Budhni was taken by senior party leaders to silence disgraced former state finance minister, Raghavji, who has been seeking ticket for his daughter and also to ensure that he may not cause any damage to the party by turning rebel.
Raghavji is the sitting MLA from Vidisha. He was expelled from the party some months back following sodomy charges levelled by his domestic help.
Vidisha was a home-turf for Chouhan as he represented it in the Lok Sabha for five terms from 1991 till 2004-05.
Later, when he became MP Chief Minister on November 29, 2005, for the first time, he contested a by-election from Budhni seat. Chouhan won his first election as MLA from Budhni in 1990 and since then he has never lost any polls.
Meanwhile, Ajay Singh challenged Shivraj Singh Chouhan to contest only from one constituency if he was not scared of Mahendra Singh Chouhan in Budhni.
In a statement, the Leader of Opposition said that the Congress had put up a "formidable" nominee against the CM and this had forced him to contest from two seats.
"Mahendra Singh had old ties with the people and workers of Budhni constituency. I challenge Shivraj to contest only from one constituency, if he was not afraid," he said.